ENVIRONMENTAL DEPARTMENT UPDATE
Here is a new arcticle on some Environmental Issues that affect the entire world.
Five drawdowns (getting reimbursed from EPA for funds expended) have been done this fiscal year (10/1/13 – 9/30/14), and we are on track and within our budget for the GAP grant. Another drawdown will be done the first week of July.
Due to the small size of the Village and waste stream for large solid waste items, the Environmental Department is pursuing other options for large solid waste disposal (rather than renting a large roll-off bin from Pahrump Valley Disposal). A bin would be too expensive and too large scale for the Village, as PVD hauls the bins away weekly. Therefore, we are looking into purchasing a bin for the Village, and hauling it away ourselves (monthly, or as needed). If we decided to purchase a bin to permanently keep in Death Valley as a Tribal asset, we will need to explore options for funding. We are currently reviewing prices for this option and will then discuss more specifics of it, before making a decision.
Here is a brief overview of the Recycling Plan that has been created for the Timbisha Village (will be in effect 10/1/14):
- Glass, metal, aluminum, plastic, paper, and cardboard will all be collected via household/”curbside” collection – these recyclables can be commingled (i.e. each type of recyclable does not need to separated);
- We will also collect e-waste (electronic waste) and utilize the National Park Service’s monthly “E-waste Collection Days”;
- The recyclables will be stored in a bin surrounded by a wooden-frame structure (to withstand the wind in Death Valley), until they are hauled away to Pahrump;
- Recycling funds will be used for fuel to and from Pahrump Valley Disposal, and disposal of larger solid waste items (discussed above).
EMERGENCY OPERATIONS PLAN
Inyo County Unified Command
Inyo County hosts quarterly Unified Command meetings in Bishop. Unified Command is basically an emergency response structure that brings together the “leaders” of various agencies/organizations to work collaboratively to coordinate the best response effort (rather than each agency working independently).
At this particular UC meeting, we discussed fireworks (as Independence Day is right around the corner). Please be safe and cautious with any firework use, and make sure that you are using the fireworks properly, and in an approved location.
Emergency Operations Plan
The Environmental Department has been drafting the Tribe’s first Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). This Plan will basically lay out everything we need to know should an emergency occur in the Death Valley Indian Village; who does what, where we can get resources, what “hazards” to expect, etc. The introduction to the Tribe’s Plan is almost complete; once it is, the Environmental Department will host another Emergency Planning meeting in Death Valley (date TBD).
Hazard Vulnerability Analysis
Before writing an EOP, it is good to figure out what hazards we can expect, and which hazards are more likely to occur than others. To do this, the Environmental Department is completing a Hazard Vulnerability Analysis (HVA). The HVA has a list of hazard scenarios that could occur (ranging from an earthquake to a fire to a civil disturbance). For each hazard, we figure out the chance of that happening, and the effects that would occur after that hazard (loss of human life, loss of property, damage to property, disruption of services, etc.).
On March 28th, the Environmental Department hosted a meeting in Death Valley to discuss the HVA that was created. Only a few changes were made to better portray the hazards in Death Valley; the HVA is now complete.
The Environmental Department was also planning on creating a “Seasonal Hazard Calendar” for the Village. However, because the hazards that occur in Death Valley occur throughout the year (not necessarily seasonally), we are no longer creating this “Calendar”. If needed, we will look into other formats for describing the various hazards.
National Park Service
I met with the Emergency Planner for the National Park Service on March 20th. We discussed a few hazards the Park is vulnerable to, as well as different ways to get people interested in emergency preparedness. The Park Service will begin to have emergency planning meetings within the next few months, and I will keep the website updated as those meetings progress.
Volcanic Crises Awareness Course
One hazard that we are vulnerable to (in Inyo County) is a volcanic eruption. The National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (University of Hawaii) is hosting a ‘Volcanic Crises Awareness’ training course in Bishop July 23-24. If you are interested in attending/participating, contact Mikaela Griffiths for further information.
Clean Air Act Grant
Unfortunately, the Tribe did not receive the Clean Air Act grant for next fiscal year (EPA had fewer funds than tribes were requesting). However, because we do not currently have an Air Quality Program, we are still able to use GAP grant funds to begin an Air Program for the Tribe; this will be started next fiscal year (10/1/14). The Environmental Department is also exploring other funding possibilities to start an Air Quality Program for the Tribe.
We received our award guidance letter from EPA regarding our GAP grant for next fiscal year (10/1/14 – 9/30/15). We needed to make a few small changes to the budget and workplan, but the majority of our workplan tasks and budget expenses were approved!
Hazardous Waste Grant
The Environmental Department, with help from the Environmental Consultant, submitted an application to receive a Hazardous Waste Grant. This grant will allow us to increase the Tribe’s (Council, staff, and members) knowledge of hazardous waste and decrease the amount of hazardous waste in the Village.
Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant
The Environmental Department is currently preparing an application to receive a Pre-Disaster Mitigation Planning Grant that will help the Tribe work more vigorously on emergency planning.
We have found several other grants that would be an asset to the Tribe. However, these grants have later due dates (one doesn’t even have a due date), so we are focusing our attention on the grants due within these next few months.
Links to Environmental Information, and helpful hints
Follow/Click the links below to get more information on the projects that the EPA department is working on, as well as additional information on environmental items
just follow the links to see the articles.